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Small Booksellers Game Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon

Books: Nowhere is there a more poignant battle between small businesses and their corporate competition. While music, movies, and TV were long-ago digitized by the forces that be, books are the laggard medium, making for a fight that seems downright anthropological.

Books: Nowhere is there a more poignant battle between small businesses and their corporate competition. While music, movies, and TV were long-ago digitized by the forces that be, books are the laggard medium, making for a fight that seems downright anthropological.

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Books

A few weeks ago we reported that some big-box stores were aggressively outdoing each other on hardcover price cuts. But since Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Target began selling hardcovers as loss-leaders, smaller bookshops have tried to take advantage by buying their book-stock from those retailers at below-cost prices.

Big-box retailers have caught on, according to Publishers Weekly, and are now putting limits on how many bargain-priced books you can buy at once. (Wal-Mart is limiting to two, Amazon three, and Target five. For an indie bookseller, five’s plenty!) The American Booksellers Association has also sent a letter to the Department of Justice calling the price war anticompetitive and “predatory,” but nothing has come of the legally-impotent complaint.

The books in question are 10 predicted bestsellers, to be released this fall.

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About the author

I've written about innovation, design, and technology for Fast Company since 2007. I was the co-founding editor of FastCoLabs

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